We land in Glasgow at 6:30am, giddy but exhausted.
The international arrivals hall is decorated to look like a forest scene. The walls are pictures of trees, the carpet is a picture of stone. There are running water and bird sounds.
We clear customs without issue and head toward baggage claim. Wee Billy, who is now 26; who was 21 when we last saw him; who was 4 last time Jane was in Scotland, is waiting for us with a giant cardboard sign. His dad, Billy (Big Billy? Great Billy?) stands next to him.
Bags collected, we follow them to Billy’s white Mercedes. We follow the M8 through Glasgow city center, then onto the M80 and out into the country to Kirkintilloch where we’re staying.
Wee Billy, who is not at all wee, is the groom. Billy is his dad, Helena his mum. We’ve been invited to stay at Helena and Billy’s. Their house is lovely with a giant well-manicured backyard.
We deposit our things in Billy’s former bedroom and collapse on the couch.
Upon finding out about our trip, one of the first questions was always “Will you get to try haggis?” The answer, it turns out, was an immediate yes.
Breakfast issquare sausage and haggis sandwiches on giant white rolls. Ketchup and HP Brown sauce (a bit like Worcestershire Sauce). I had always imagined haggis more as a big slab of meat but it’s ground up and mixed with oats so it comes out more like ground sausage.
It’s delicious and we are both hooked from the get-go.
After breakfast, Billy, his sister Lyndsay and their dog Charlie take us down to the path along the Forth & Clyde Canal for a quick walk. We walk about a mile down the path along the canal, then up into the center of town. We loop around past the church where Billy will be getting married and then back to the house.
After arriving home, we load up into the car and head back into Glasgow.
Glasgow is an amazing city. It’s incredible to be in a city with so much history. We just don’t get anything that old in America.
We cover almost 10 miles over the course of the day.
We see the courtyard of the University of Glasgow, which looks like something straight out of Harry Potter.
Lunch was at the Grosvenor Cafe where I got a gigantic personal pizza with a “lemonade” (eg Sprite) for just £5.
We go to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum just in time to see the organist play.
It’s then, when we stop walking, that our overnight travels start to catch up with me. I could’ve fallen asleep just standing there.
We leave the museum and pop into a small pub that was built in an old kirk. I really do fall asleep there. Everyone is sitting around a small table having a drink and watching rugby on TV. I put my head on my head and drift off without even realizing it.
After some good-natured ribbing, we hike back to the car and head for home.
Dinner is chicken balamoral (chicken stuffed with haggis and wrapped in bacon) with a side of lasagna. Then it’s just hanging onto consciousness for as long as we can.
We make it until 8pm, 33 hours without sleep.
I collapse into bed with Jane exhausted. A successful first day in Scotland.